This season promises to be full of excitement, drama, and intrigue as Union Avenue Opera sets off to present three highly anticipated company debuts – Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. And for 21 seasons the drama has unfolded in the intimate confines of Union Avenue Christian Church.
Long considered one of the greatest operas of all time, Don Giovanni is Mozart’s version of the notorious Don Juan legend. In the decadent pursuit of pleasure, Spanish nobleman Don Giovanni travels through Europe seducing women and leaving behind him a trail of broken hearts, broken promises, and broken lives. When Don Giovanni commits murder, he unleashes a dark power beyond his control. Scott Schoonover conducts and Jon Truitt directs this timeless masterpiece.
A tale of innocence lost, Rigoletto is Verdi’s tense and brutal tale of a deformed court jester caught in a snare of corruption, lechery, and vengeance. It is a chilling whirlwind of revenge — Rigoletto, jester to the Duke of Mantua, can not protect the person he most loves from the person he most loathes. His beloved daughter Gilda falls in love with the hated Duke and eventually sacrifices her life to save the Duke from the assassin hired by her father. This iconic melodrama boasts an action-packed plot and a parade of brilliant music, including the Duke’s boastful “la donna e mobile,” Rigoletto’s Cortigiani, vil razza dannata,” and Gilda’s stunning Caro nome.” Scott Schoonover conducts and Tim Ocel directs this tragic tale life-turned-upside-down.
A suspenseful tale of courage and sacrifice, Wagner’s tale of gods, mortals and giants draws to a close in Götterdämmerung – Twilight of the Gods. The heroic Siegfried gifts Brünnhilde with the ring as a token of their love, but they are soon caught up in events beyond their control. Brünnhilde steps forward to return the universe to its natural order in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice. Watch as the Rhine overflows, Valhalla burns, and the kingdom of the gods is destroyed. Experience Wagner at his pinnacle, including “Starke Scheite schichten mir dort,” Brünnhilde’s immolation scene, and Siegfried’s power funeral march in this reduction and adaptation by English composer Jonathan Dove. His masterful cuts condense Götterdämmerung in length to under three hours. Götterdämmerung is the culmination of Union Avenue Opera’s Wagner Project, a four-year endeavor to present Wagner’s Ring cycle enhanced by video projections and expanding technical elements never before seen on the UAO stage. Scott Schoonover conducts and Karen Coe Miller directs the final production of the Ring cycle.
Union Avenue Christian Church and its newly remodeled first-floor gathering spaces are ready to receive UAO and its patrons for another exciting year of opera performed in its original language.